Durham, N.H. — On a night where winter was out in full force, it was New Hampshire that was also at full force sending shots toward Clay Witt. The sophomore started the game in lieu of normal starter, Chris Rawlings. It was his first start of the season, and, at times, it was a strong performance for the sophomore — 33 saves — but the Huskies gave up 38 shots on the night and allowed five goals, in a lackluster road effort but an impressive effort by UNH. With the win UNH head coach Dick Umile notched his 300th Hockey East win becoming the second coach in Hockey East history to accomplish the feat. He is also 14 wins shy of 400 overall wins.
What I saw
- UNH received a phenomenal performance from the fourth line. The fourth line of UNH combined for three of the five goals and also sent 10 shots at Clay Witt. If UNH has one thing they have depth at the forward position and this was proven tonight as the fourth line came up huge for the Wildcats with Mike Borisenok leading the charge with two goals.
- Northeastern was a much different team than the club that UNH played at Matthews Arena in Boston just two weeks ago. The lack of forechecking, puck possession and power play prowess is something that seemingly changes when the team leaves Matthews. Giving up 38 shots, a good portion of which were quality shots, and only throwing 17 shots at Matt Di Girolamo has to be alarming to first year head coach Jim Madigan. The one positive for Northeastern was that its discipline in the game was commendable, given the circumstances that were brought about throughout the game.
What they said
-Umile said, “That’s the best we have played all year. I liked the way the guys responded. This was a pretty good team. I thought we had great speed and pace. Everything worked tonight for us.”
-Umile said, “300 big ones, I have had a lot of great players in my coaching career. I was more concerned on getting our first Hockey East win of the season tonight. It was what we needed to do.”
-Madigan said, “There isnt much to report on tonight. We were better in the second period, but we didn’t respond in third. Our defensive zone coverage struggled and we struggled on the forecheck. We have to do better on the road. We started Clay tonight because we felt he deserved the opportunity. In this league you need to have two goalies and tonight we felt it was the best opportunity to give him the start.”
What they didn’t say
Justin Agosta went down with an injury near the end of the second period. He did not return to the game and was in some serious discomfort as he limped to the locker room. Nothing was mentioned of this injury in the post game press conference. He has been a key component, in recent weeks, to the ever improving UNH defensive core. Freshman Trevor Van Riemsdyk has logged a lot of ice time in the last few games. He plays on the power play and penalty kill. This injury could mean even more of time for him as a freshman.
Northeastern started Clay Witt in net. The sophomore netminder made 33 saves and stopped everything that he should have. He kept the Huskies in the game for 2 periods of play One would presume this would be a one game hiatus in net for Chris Rawlings.
What else you should know
Northeastern is in the middle of 11 straight Hockey East games to start the year. At 1-4-1 the Huskies have struggled to put points together in the incredible early season stretch of conference games, but there are six games left and this stretch and Northeastern will have to start putting together some wins and points to stay in the Hockey East race. Northeastern plays a home and home against a tough Merrimack team next weekend. That can be a big challenge but it could also bring some redemption to the team.
UNH gained its first win in Hockey East play on the season. UNH started 2-6-2 and 2-2-1 in the league, in 2009-2010 but went on to win the regular season title that year. The Wildcats are now 2-4-1 and 1-3-0 in Hockey East. Next weekend will be crucial for UNH. They play two more games next weekend. UMass comes to Durham on Friday and archrival Maine comes to town Saturday for White Out the Whit. It should be an interesting weekend of games.